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Saturday, February 27, 2016


(Sindile Dube & Pauline Dalais of the artSMart Knitwit team, show some of the blankets ready to be distributed)

Let’s win the Crochet Revolution for Madiba and take back the world record!

Thought crocheting was the sort of thing reserved for old ladies to sell at the crafts stall at the local retirement village market? Times have changed, fashion has once again come full circle, and this creative way of making fabric has taken off in terms of popularity. 

It has also taken off in terms of competitiveness and goodwill. But it’s not for the faint-hearted. Non-profit organisation 67 Blankets for Mandela Day is going all out to take back its world record of the biggest crocheted blanket - which has just been smashed by a massive blanket measuring a jaw-dropping 11,149 square metres in India.

If all goes according to plan, thousands of blankets will be spread out as far as the eye can see around the statue of Nelson Mandela at Drakenstein Prison in the Western Cape on April 22. This is the place where Nelson Mandela was finally released. 

But it’s not just about joining the “Knitting Revolution for Mandela”. It’s also re-making that world record of a blanket. Before the group from India annexed the record it was held by 67 Blankets for last year’s impressive display at the Union Buildings where they entered the book for the “Largest Crochet Blanket in the World”.

So pick up a crochet hook and some wool, and join South Africans from all walks of life - women, men and children from different religions, races, ages, socio-economic backgrounds -in spreading out thousands of blankets on April 22, to mark 22 years of South Africa's democracy. Prior to that there will be an event at Steyn City, near Sandton, on April 10 with Lead SA

“If you have no idea how to crochet but would still like to be part of the initiative, donate - either wool or cash,” says Carolyn Steyn, the founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day. “There are thousands of people calling out for wool. They have the will ... but not the wool”.

Prisoners from all over South Africa have joined the “Knitting Revolution for Madiba” and their blankets will form part of this massive display. The rallying call in Correctional Services is “Knitting Broken Lives Together".

Blankets will be transported from all corners of South Africa to Drakenstein by Stuttaford Van Lines and Airlink and after the display, transport them back to their places of origin in time for distribution to those in need before the winter strikes. This is in keeping with the idea of making "every day a Mandela Day”.

Last year the Nelson Mandela Foundation commended 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day as being "the very first Mandela Day initiative to respond to the immediate needs of the people".

Steyn has called upon all South Africans to “pull up their woolly socks” and to play their part in what is now being called the "Wool Cup”. It took more than two thousand participants six months and lots of wool to break the Guinness World Record for largest crochet blanket in the city of Chennai, India.

“South Africans love nothing more than a challenge and I believe that together we are weaving our nation together with the advent of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day. Together we can outsmash India's record. We just need to all come on board and crochet faster!” she said.

“As a result, many more thousands of people living in dire need will be kept warmer over all the winters to come, in the name of our beloved Nelson Mandela. We will keep his legacy (and the ideals for which he stood), alive with each every stitch that we make with our own two hands.”

Crocheted blankets should ideally be single bed size (140 x 180 centimetres) and be handed in by April 1l. It is now crunch time. The pressure is on. South Africa has to win this Wool Cup!

67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day is a registered non-profit organisation. Its registration number is NPO 151/362. For those who wish to contribute wool or be in contact with the group, the email address is

For more information join their Facebook group 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day (SA) or twitter @67Blankets; email or visit for more information and to find the local 67 Blankets ambassador in your region.

If you’d rather donate money for wool, or to support the initiative, the banking details are: 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day NPC Investec Bank Limited, Current Account, Account No: 10011758149, Branch 58 01 05.